I AM Bombardier Jean-Christophe Sherrer

I AM Bombardier Jean-Christophe Sherrer


There’s a lot of avalanches
that happen out here and we’re going out and firing
our cannons into the mountains so that we can pre-emptively
stop any avalanches that could be
potentially hazardous for the civilian population
out here. My name is Bombardier
Jean-Christophe Sherrer. I’m from the
30th Field Artillery Reserve Unit in Ottawa, Ontario. Fire! We’re out here at Rogers Pass
on Operation PALACI, this a domestic operation
we’ve been doing since 1961. It’s, basically,
triggering avalanches to prevent snow buildup. There’s one main highway that goes between
British Columbia and Alberta. And in order to be able
to get civilians from one place to another safely we really have to get to those
avalanches as soon as possible before it becomes a danger to anyone wanting
to use the highway. There are specific points where avalanches
often occur every year. We end up recording exactly where our barrels
should be pointed and then all we have to do
is pull the lanyard after that and it hits the same place
every single time. Fire! What we use for this operation
is called the C3 Howitzer. It fires a
105-millimeter projectile and it’s extremely light. It’s really effective. What we ended up doing
is we just added a jack to the bottom of the gun and
what we can do with that is… we put the jack into a cup and then we can basically
pivot the gun all around there to be able to shoot different
mountains at different bearings. Shilo was in charge
of training us up to be able to come out here and we got enough training
to be confident in our skills to be able to control avalanches
through the use of our gun. So we were out there
just training for a while and now we finally got
the go-ahead to come out here because they actually need us
to trigger certain avalanches to make the park safer. Yesterday we got, basically,
avalanche rescue training. So, we were issued
these beacons, which are actually very
effective at finding people. We can find them underneath
the snow just by looking and it’ll point you
where they are and it’ll tell you exactly how
deep under the snow they are. So we can appropriately
dig underneath to be able to find them. You start digging
from the side in to be able to take them out and treat them
for hypothermic shock or broken bones
or collapsed lungs or what not. You never really get used
to the view to be honest. I really enjoy being out here, it’s a really friendly place, little small city, and generally just great people. ♪

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